Toyota Ups Performance with Gazoo

If you needed a car for reliable transportation and practical usability, and you didn’t care much for driving dynamics or performance, which brand would you choose?

One of the first to come to mind might be Toyota.

The automaker’s reputation for quality and reliability is legendary. Its design, however, has leaned toward the bland, while performance has been perfectly calibrated to handle any speed limit America could throw at it. Practical, but not exhilarating.

That could change with the introduction of the Gazoo Racing Series.

Gazoo?

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who might never have heard the odd name associated with Toyota. Gazoo Racing is part of Toyota’s racing division and will partner with the automaker to create a Gazoo Racing (GR) model series for the Japanese automaker, which will include a dedicated sports-car platform and beefed-up versions of other models. The name, though, will appear only in the Japanese and some European markets.

Here in America, the Gazoo name won’t make it onto any models, but the technology will be present in the already established TRD models.

Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Gazoo Racing, said,

We are taking the challenge of adopting new tastes created in this process to stock cars as much as possible…. In its next phase, we will get a designated sports car platform and eventually—finally—we want to introduce a pure, genuine sports car, which can compete against top-class world competitors.

We know that Toyota is working on a new Supra and a successor to the MR2. A new world-class sports car would give Toyota at least four performance models, including the existing GT-86. And that doesn’t include any existing vehicles that might get the Gazoo/TRD treatment in the future.

We have to give Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda credit for taking a risk and injecting some life back into his company. Without a doubt, he’ll continue to mass-produce the reliable cars that generations of people have grown to love, but now we can also look forward to unique vehicles that will inject some much-needed passion into the Toyota driving experience.

How will you take your next Toyota: Standard or race-inspired?

-tgriffith

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